Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review of the Enigma of the Biblical Shafan, pt ii: What else did Dr. Betech conceal from his readers?

In the first post in this series, by examining Dr. Betech presentation of a klal regarding fins and scales, I showed that while seeming to present a comprehensive discussion of the issue, in fact the discussion was one-sided. It omitted a critical portion of Tosafot that might provide nuance, omitted a Rishon who argued with one of the central points, and banished the contrary Acharonim almost to a brief mention in a footnote.

While he may or may not intend this, the presentation is similarly one-sided through the rest of the book. As one example, as someone recently observed to me (slight editing):
Dr. Betech's book cites hundreds and hundreds of obscure sources that have very little to do with the subject matter. But he doesn't cite Rabbi Slifkin's book even once!
We might not expect Dr. Betech to, given that he was active in the ban. But, for example, does he mention the video evidence, from Rabbi Slifkin, of a hyrax making chewing motions when it had not received recent food? He does not.

In fact, while he knows full well that there is this possible video evidence, in two places in his book, he does not mention it and very carefully words it so as to not technically lie, but still mislead his readers.

One page 118, in the chapter Why The Hyrax Cannot Be The Biblical Shafan, he writes (emphasis in the original):


"The hyrax cannot be the shafan or the arnebet, because even the proponents of identifying the hyrax as the shafan acknowledge that there is no evidence that the hyrax practices rumination, caecotrophy, or even merycism; thus, the hyrax is not "maaleh gerah"."
Who are these unnamed "proponents" who "acknowledged" this?

Is there no evidence? So, this video, is not evidence of possible merycism? The hyrax did not eat recently, and it is performing chewing motions.


 

And Rabbi Slifkin has another video, in which you can actually see motion in the hyrax's throat while it is doing this chewing:


Dr. Betech's answer may be:
a) The answer is that it is evidence of possible merycism, not certain. We cannot know for certain unless we also X-ray the hyrax while it is engaged in this.
b) What Dr. Betech actually said in a comment on my blog, in response to this video evidence:
Sorry for my short answer, I am still abroad lecturing day and night...

Do you have any scientific source supporting your suggestion that the hyrax practices merycism?
As it emerged, he did not consider this video evidence to be a "scientific source", and thus it may be discounted. As he wrote me in a somewhat later response:
You suggested that the hyrax practices merycism, so I asked for a scientific source.
If for you a video it is enough evidence, fine, but please do not expect this to be enough in any scientific forum.
This is what he meant when he misleadingly wrote in his book:
even the proponents of identifying the hyrax as the shafan acknowledge that there is no evidence that the hyrax practices rumination, caecotrophy, or even merycism
Later, on page 162, he once again pulls the wool over the reader's eyes. He writes:

"Practices ectental mastication, however the hyrax does not practice rumination, caecotrophy, or every merycism."
And then, in footnote 469 on that same page, the coup de grâce:
"I couldn't find in the published literature available to me, any scientific source for redigestion practiced by the hyrax."
Note the three evasions that Dr. Betech uses here:

  1. "I couldn't find"
  2. "in the published literature"
  3. "any scientific source"

In long running, annoying threads, Dr. Betech used just this evasive and dishonest tactic #1, saying that he couldn't find something (reference to zoologists who observed hyraxes regurgitate small quantities of food for remastication) in Rabbi Slifkin's books:
I am sorry but I could not find the names of the zoologists that have observed that hyraxes do in fact regurgitate small quantities of food for remastication.
As it turned out, he knew precisely all along what Rabbi Slifkin was referring to but disagreed with the relevance or categorizations. This might be a "good" debating tactic or a way to antagonize your opponents, but in a book written for a neutral audience, saying "I could not find" to obscure information is a fancy way of lying -- (a) using carefully crafted words to hide his intent, and (b) deliberately concealing information that the reader would quite likely find relevant.

When Dr. Betech says "any scientific source" and "published literature" he is excluding the video evidence since it was not published in a scientific journal by a zoologist. As he noted in the comment on my blog.

And he is surreptitiously excluding various items mentioned in Rabbi Slifkin's book, The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax, pages 97-101. For instance, Dr. Betech excludes the eighteenth-century explorer James Bruce, and zoologist Dr. Hubert Hendrichs, who claim to have seen hyraxes ruminate. And he excluding "personal communication" to Rabbi Slifkin (since it is not "in the published [scientific] literature"?) from Dr. Hendrik Hoek and Dr. Christine Janis, with observation of chewing motions, which might (depending on interpretation) be evidence towards merycism.

A fair and honest presentation would mention the video evidence and why he chooses to exclude it; it would mention Bruce, Hendrichs, and others, and explain why he does not deem it to be good evidence. Instead, he deliberately conceals the existence of this evidence from the reader. It is a dishonest book.

128 comments:

The Lorax said...

Ironically, Dr. Betech is perfectly ready to quote sources that are not published in scientific literature - when it suits his purposes.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Be careful. If you guys keep this up Dr Betech and friends might just take it upon themselves to hunt the hyrax into extinction, then deny it ever existed and then declare the rabbit as the only candidate for shafan, then scream about how Rav Slifkin invented a non-existent animal they called a hyrax just to attack the Torah.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman

Thank you for your continued interest in reviewing my recently published book.

You wrote:
A fair and honest presentation would mention the video evidence and why he chooses to exclude it; it would mention Bruce, Hendrichs, and others, and explain why he does not deem it to be good evidence. Instead, he deliberately conceals the existence of this evidence from the reader. It is a dishonest book.

IB:
Just a short comment, since I have to lecture, sorry.
As per your own criteria, I think that your post should mention how Natan Slifkin qualified his video after he presented it to the experts and how Natan Slifkin himself describes his certitude on the hyrax merycism.
Thanks

joshwaxman said...

Dr. Betech:

This is the second post in which you respond by deflecting from the deficiencies of your own book by pointing to others.

Yes, Rabbi Slifkin describes wavering between thinking it is merycism and not. Which is why I spoke of it as "possible" evidence.

My post is not your book, nor is the purpose of the post to be comprehensive.

The purpose of this post was pointing out (yet) another instance of dishonesty in your book. in which you (a) deliberately concealed evidence from your readers, (b) used careful wording to hide that you were concealing it, and (c) misleadingly portrayed this as the position of your opponents.

In other words, that your book is deliberately dishonest.

David Ohsie said...

Here's a relevant quote from R. Slifkin's book on evidence for hyrax merycism:

…when I kept pet hyraces I would occasionally (maybe up to two or
three times per week) see them doing some brief chewing movements...
It’s not regular rumination, as in a true ruminant, but it may be that they regurgitate and rechew a little bit of food.

Christine Janis, personal communication 2003

wabbi said...

OK, we have the hyrax, the lorax. I say the shafan is the middlerax. :-)

By the way, I only took a quick read of the book, but nowhere (unless I missed it) does the good doctor refer to the source of the theory that cecotrophy is pshat of maleh gerah. R. Natan's book quotes the Torah Shleima hosafot. Can you please comment on that, Doctor Betech?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman
Thank you for your reply.

You wrote:
This is the second post in which you respond by deflecting from the deficiencies of your own book by pointing to others.

IB 2.1:
This is your second review article on my book where I tried to show the readers that (as someone recently observed to me) you seemingly have double standards when criticizing my book.

In this post you are criticizing how the book presents dissenting views, but you omitted how Natan Slifkin himself described the value of his video (mentioned 9 times in your post)… even now after requested.
So I will do it:

Natan Slifkin wrote:
My video of my own hyrax engaged in what appeared to me to be merycism has been dismissed by some zoologists as showing a form of threat gesture instead…

… Sure. I'm not committed to the hyrax engaging in merycism.

Rabbi Waxman wrote:
In other words, that your book is deliberately dishonest.

IB 2.2:
It is not.
Dissenting views were amply cited in my book.
More on your recent post on next comment B”H

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman
Some additional comments on your main post.

You wrote:
It omitted a critical portion of Tosafot that might provide nuance…

IB 3.1:
The “critical portion” implied also Divine intervention, nevertheless I accepted you suggestion and added the “critical portion” to the draft version of the next edition.

You wrote:
…omitted a Rishon who argued with one of the central points

IB 3.2:
This Rishon is the Rambam, only according the new translation based on a handwriting requested by me but not presented yet by you.

You wrote:
…Who are these unnamed "proponents" who "acknowledged" this?

IB 3.3:
They are named in chapter 6 (a) footnote 332, cross-linked from the page 162 you present scanned in this post.

You wrote:
And then, in footnote 469 on that same page, the coup de grâce:
"I couldn't find in the published literature available to me, any scientific source for redigestion practiced by the hyrax."

IB 3.4:
Have you?

You wrote:
…I am sorry but I could not find the names of the zoologists that have observed that hyraxes do in fact regurgitate small quantities of food for remastication.

IB 3.5:
Have you?

You wrote:
When Dr. Betech says "any scientific source" and "published literature" he is excluding the video evidence since it was not published in a scientific journal by a zoologist. As he noted in the comment on my blog.

IB 3.6
See above IB 2.1

You wrote:
For instance, Dr. Betech excludes the eighteenth-century explorer James Bruce, and zoologist Dr. Hubert Hendrichs, who claim to have seen hyraxes ruminate.

IB 3.7
Bruce was a traveler, not a zoologist.
Rabbi Waxman excludes all the information against the conclusions of Heindrichs.

You wrote:
And he excluding "personal communication" to Rabbi Slifkin (since it is not "in the published [scientific] literature"?) from Dr. Hendrik Hoek and Dr. Christine Janis, with observation of chewing motions, which might (depending on interpretation) be evidence towards merycism.

IB 3.8
Could you be so kind to tell me who of the above mentioned doctors concluded that hyrax practices merycism? I think none of them, even Natan Slifkin as per his own admission:

“Sure. I'm not committed to the hyrax engaging in merycism.”

You wrote:
…with observation of chewing motions…
… and explain why he does not deem it to be good evidence…

IB 3.9
Explained in Chapter 6 (a) (1).

You wrote:
It is a dishonest book.

IB 3.10
I hope that whoever reads carefully this reply could arrive to a different conclusion, B”H.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H

Wabbi wrote:
...but nowhere (unless I missed it) does the good doctor refer to the source of the theory that cecotrophy is pshat of maleh gerah.

IB:
Chapter 3 and Appendix I

joshwaxman said...

Dr. Betech:

I am not going to get sucked into a back and forth with you, which only works to obscure what you have done.

If anyone wants to know, I can answer them each of these points. I will answer one as a sample, but will not argue it further than that: to IB 3.2: as a reviewer, it is not upon me to provide you with the Arabic manuscript of Rambam the Rav Kapach, a scholar, used, and which you knew about from Rabbi Slifkin's book. as a book author, it is upon you to note that this opinion exists and dismiss it or not, and that you don't even mention in a purportedly extensive compilation of sources shows that you are concealing information from the reader.

If anyone else desires clarification of any points raised above, please ask.

In the meantime, I will end again with this:
The purpose of this post was pointing out (yet) another instance of dishonesty in your book. in which you (a) deliberately concealed evidence from your readers, (b) used careful wording to hide that you were concealing it, and (c) misleadingly portrayed this as the position of your opponents.

In other words, that your book is deliberately dishonest.

Anonymous said...

IB:
Chapter 3 and Appendix I


Can you please supply page number? Thanks in advance.

David Ohsie said...

Could you be so kind to tell me who of the above mentioned doctors concluded that hyrax practices merycism?

Sorry, that doesn't help. You said there was *no* evidence, not "inconclusive" evidence. Hence you absolutely mislead the reader.

joshwaxman said...

David:

Exactly.

A fair portrayal of the pro-hyrax position would present all evidence they put forth, even inconclusive evidence. (And the video, and zoologists observing this chewing in hyraxes, even if they interpreted it differently, is 'evidence' which deserves mention.)

Since the purpose of this post is not to argue in favor of hyrax merycism (maybe they do, maybe they don't; i don't really care one way or another), whether or not this is really merycism is beside the point.

What is the point is (a) he attributed this "no" evidence to the pro-hyrax proponents; (b) he did not mention any of this evidence, even though a neutral reader would consider it valuable information; (c) he worded his categories in an exceptionally careful way to as to dishonestly hide what he was doing.

מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן? מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו, ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי. ולא עוד, אלא שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן. Eruvin 13b.

This is what Dr. Betech has most decidedly NOT done.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Wabbi

You wrote:
By the way, I only took a quick read of the book, but nowhere (unless I missed it) does the good doctor refer to the source of the theory that cecotrophy is pshat of maleh gerah. R. Natan's book quotes the Torah Shleima hosafot.

IB:
Maybe I did not understand your question when I previously answered. Sorry!
If your question is:

Which is the earliest source I know that suggested a maaleh gerah animal could be one who practices caecotrophy?
In that case:

The earliest sources I know that suggested a “maaleh gerah” animal could be one who practices caecotrophy will be cited below, although they mention neither the combination of caecotrophy plus ectental mastication, nor a comprehensive definition which groups together the classic ruminants with the ones practicing caecotrophy.

Rav Menachem Kasher, Torah Shelemah, Vol. 28 (addendum), page 293, 5738 (1978) citing HaChay BaMishnah, Prof. Yehuda Felix, 1972
http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_51458_297.pdf
Dr. Morton Jean Sloat. Science in the Bible. Moody Press, Chicago, 1978, page 179

joshwaxman said...

hilarious!

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
Dear Rabbi Waxman

Shabua shechal bo tisha beAv...

Please explain without sarcasm.

Shenizke lirot benechamat Tzion Virushalayim bekarob.

joshwaxman said...

I am not being sarcastic; your comment is indeed hilarious.

It does a better job than I ever could showing how you use evasive language to conceal from your audience.

David Ohsie said...

While Dr. Betech understands what he has done wrong, for the benefit of other readers:

"Wabbi" asks whether Dr. Betech credited "Torah Shleima" of R. Menachem Kasher for the idea that Maaleh Gerah includes Cecotrophy which is central to Dr. Betech's book. We know that Dr. Betech knew of R. Kasher's work because we know that Dr. Betech read R. Slikin's book and R. Slifkin references R. Kasher.

Dr. Betech, first responds with sections in his book where he discusses Cecotrophy, perhaps hoping that the reader will not follow the reference and realize that R. Kasher is not credited there.

When called on this, he replies that he "misunderstood" the question and, while not admitting the omission, tries to excuse it by noting that he further developed the idea (maaleh gerah = nutritionally imperative redigestion + ectental mastication) and then tries to cover up the omission by making a reference here on this blog.

Dr. Betech, you are right this is a time for T'shuvah. You can start by admitting that you failed to credit a prior author with one of your central ideas. Since full T'shuvah requires going to the other extreme, I suggest that you also go to your blog and remove the accusation of heresy, sinfulness and fraud that you level against others there.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear David
Although your summary is not accurate, nevertheless I admit the (unintentional) omission in my book of the two sources above mentioned. I knew them and forgot to cite them (the book cites around 1000 sources).
I already added them to the draft version of the 2nd edition.
Thanks to Wabby for bringing this to my attention.

This is exactly what I wrote in page 39 on the introduction of the book:
“If the reader finds that we missed any relevant source, we kindly ask to share it with us.”

I am very grateful to all the reviewers of the book, hopefully B”H next edition will be improved.

BTW, I am wondering why Natan Slifkin had not the merit of correcting even factual mistakes and important omissions present in his first edition and remained unmodified seven years later in the second edition.

Finally, if someone demonstrates any false accusation made by me against any human being I am ready to retract it B”H.
I hope the same will be done with any calumny against any other human being.

joshwaxman said...

See, had you answered at first that this was an accidental omission, that would have been fine.

Instead, you engaged in an evasive back-and-forth!

Roger said...

“If the reader finds that we missed any relevant source, we kindly ask to share it with us.”

Dr. Betech, there's a relevant source that you forgot to mention in your book. It's a dedicated and detailed study of this very topic - in fact, before your book, I think it was the only dedicated study of this topic. It's called "The Camel, The Hare And The Hyrax." I'm surprised that you never mentioned it once, even if only to disagree with it.

wabbi said...

So is it Prof Felix who should be credited with the cecotrophy=maleh gerah idea?

Who was the first person who documented this chiddush?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Rabbi Waxman
I did not know you were not interested in the earliest sources I knew.
I did not know you were not interested in the details of a comprehensive definition of maaleh gerah.
I did not know you were only interested in reading my admission of having omitted (unintentionally) those two sources.
If instead, of engaging in using insulting words you would have let me know what you were interested on; the back-and-forth would not have happen.

joshwaxman said...

Dr. Betech:
I am indeed not interested in any of those, even the last.

I am interested in people speaking plainly. If that means an innocuous admission, then it means an innocuous admission. Not for the sake of the admission, but for the sake of not people not engaging in "clever" evasions.

If instead, of engaging in using insulting words you would have let me know what you were interested on; the back-and-forth would not have happen.
What are you talking about?! The evasive back-and-forth was between you and Wabbi, not between you and me. That evasive back-and-forth was what led me to say "hilarious!" Please see above.

(BTW, I also would have been fine with something like:
"Yes, I omitted Rav Kasher, who indeed I know to be the earliest propounder of the theory. However, I feel that I have added sufficiently to the theory, namely by defining comprehensive definition which groups together, and by adding ectental mastication, that this was original work, without need to cite the earlier, more rudimentary theory, and so credited it as ד"ע."

That was how I read (correctly or incorrectly) you earlier comment. And even this I would not consider to be evasive and would have been fine with. But instead of saying this outright, you used evasive language to disguise it.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Roger
I am sorry to write the following but since you wrote a direct question I have to give a direct answer.
I did not forget that source; it was intentionally omitted since it is one of the books which has provoked disapproving letters with about 30 signatures of leading Rabbinical personalities.
I am not aware of any leading Rabbinical personality approving his 2nd edition.

BTW, before Natan Slifkin published his hyrax book I had friendly email communication with him; we were collaborating in the vast research required for a book like this.
When he told me his plans of immediately publishing it [without waiting for a comprehensive research] I reminded him that we were still finding many additional relevant sources.
On 09 Nov 2003 he decided to ignore my reminder.

joshwaxman said...

yes, you are "so sorry" to write that. you should also mention your own role in getting some of those leading Rabbinic personalities to condemn the books.

i personally view your omission as part of a general trend, of leaving out references to sources that would undermine your argument.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Rabbi Waxman

When asked, I have never denied what I did.
Since you wrote I should also mention my own role in getting some of those leading Rabbinic personalities to condemn the books, I will give a direct answer.

I am related to the “later letters” against Natan Slifkin´s books signed by some Gedolim a few months later than the original 23 signatures.
I did a very simple task.
I presented to the Gedolim what Natan Slifkin wrote about a certain scientific issue and also presented to them documented facts against what he wrote.
The Gedolim studied the issue a few days and then they signed the letters that everyone knows.
If you want more details please let me know.

joshwaxman said...

yes, i am familiar with what you did. i believe you also wrote elsewhere that you did not present the other side, and left it up to those Gedolim to discover this for themselves. is this the case?

given what i have seen from your writing style, the "documented facts against what he wrote" would have been very one-sided and misleading. i think you said something such as that there was no scientific proof for evolution?

regardless, to have a hand in campaigning to produce such letters and then using such letters to justify not citing him seems a tiny bit circular.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Rabbi Waxman

You wrote:
yes, i am familiar with what you did. i believe you also wrote elsewhere that you did not present the other side, and left it up to those Gedolim to discover this for themselves. is this the case?

IB:
I did not write what you say and this is not the case.
They were very interested in the details and asked a lot of questions.
They read by themselves the information and asked for time to study the information.

You wrote:
given what i have seen from your writing style, the "documented facts against what he wrote" would have been very one-sided and misleading. i think you said something such as that there was no scientific proof for evolution?

IB:
Evolution was not the issue.
The main issue was the headless chicken.

You wrote:
regardless, to have a hand in campaigning to produce such letters and then using such letters to justify not citing him seems a tiny bit circular.

IB:
As explained, most of the signatures preceded to my intervention.

joshwaxman said...

"They read by themselves the information and asked for time to study the information."

they read by themselves the information you presented? did you present the opposing side? or did you trust that they would be able to find out that there was an opposing side by themselves?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman
Of course they were very interested in knowing the opposing side with details.
The opposing side in the headless chicken was presented by Natan Slifkin himself and I gave them an unedited copy of what Natan Slifkin wrote.
They were very interested in the details and asked a lot of questions.
They read by themselves the information and asked for time to study the information.
None of them signed any letter the same day they were presented with the information.

joshwaxman said...

"The opposing side in the headless chicken was presented by Natan Slifkin himself and I gave them an unedited copy of what Natan Slifkin wrote"

sorry, that is not presenting the opposing side. presenting the opposing side would be giving Rabbi Slifkin an opportunity to see what you had alleged regarding his work, and to present a response.

for example: let us say I wrote a book in which I mentioned that Jews and gentiles had the same number of teeth. you then wrote up a whole proof that in fact, there is no scientific basis for that claim, and so, in going against kabbalists, I am a kofer. You present this to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, who not knowing any better, and relying on a scientific 'expert', he bans my book. Is that really presenting the opposing side?

Wabbi said...

Doctor Betech,

On closer reading, I noticed that on page 58 you write that "Animals that chew the cud have four stomachs"

Is that true regarding the camel family? My understanding is that they lack the omassum and only have three, something you should be aware of if you've read Rabbi Lubin's article.

Wabbi said...

Doctor Betech,

On page 133 you list the camelids - llamas, alpacas, guanacos (oh my) but neglected to cite vicunas.
Any particular reason?

Also, Rabbi David Cohen is spelled in the approbations Dovid Cohen and on page 155 he is listed as David Kohn. I think the correct spelling can be found on his fax which spell it as David Cohen.

Wabbi said...

Doctor Betech,

If the shafan is the rabbit, that means that when G-d showed Moses the rabbit, it was a foreign animal that the populace was not familiar with. How then did they pass on the mesora to their children if their progeny or their progeny's progeny had never seen one?

What proof is all the Rishonim (especially European) if they could have easily transposed the name to a similar creature, as happened with the Tzvi?

On page 100 you write "Noach's Arch", I think you may have transposed some letters from Noach's name and meant "Ark".

joshwaxman said...

Dr. Betech:
Actually, a better example.

You've said here that you don't think my critiques of your book are accurate. I disagree, but that is your feeling.

What if I were to take your book to the gedolim to get it banned. And I gave them your book and my post, but not the comment section, in which you respond. And then they ban your book. Would you feel that I have presented the Gedolim with both sides?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman

I offered:
If you want more details please let me know.

I gave you the pertinent details.
Now you want opinions.

I will give you an additional detail, the headless chicken article was published on 13 May 05 after Natan Slifkin was clearly aware that his ideas were disapproved by many signatures of leading Rabbinical authorities.

I will remind you what the question I answered is:
Dr. Betech, there's a relevant source that you forgot to mention in your book. It's a…

And I wrote:
I did not forget that source; it was intentionally omitted since it is one of the books which has provoked disapproving letters with about 30 signatures of leading Rabbinical personalities.
I am not aware of any leading Rabbinical personality approving his 2nd edition.

Do you have any evidence of any leading Rabbinical personality approving his 2nd edition?
Otherwise, why should I cite to the Jewish readers a disqualified source?
But no problem, you can study Natan Slifkin´s book and use his arguments to prove that the arguments presented in the shafan book are wrong.

Finally the shafan book is trying to suggest a solution to enigma of the Biblical shafan based on facts, not in opinions.

So I kindly suggest to you to speak about ideas and not about persons.

Shema et haemet mimi sheamara. (Hakdamat HaRambam Lishmona Perakim).

joshwaxman said...

i don't need to know your "opinion" on the matter; i was making a point -- namely, that your claim that you presented both sides to the Gedolim is incorrect.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman

I thought that you asked for my opinion because the two question marks you wrote at the end of two paragraphs.

I answered your factual questions, now please answer my question:

Do you have any evidence of any leading Rabbinical personality approving Natan Slifkin´s 2nd edition of the hyarx book?

joshwaxman said...

i don't have to answer any of your questions. i have never committed to doing so

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman

I understand your unwillingness.

May I ask to Roger (who initiated this comment tread) or to any reader if:

Someone has any evidence of any leading Rabbinical personality approving Natan Slifkin´s 2nd edition of the hyarx book?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Wabbi

You wrote:
On closer reading, I noticed that on page 58 you write that "Animals that chew the cud have four stomachs"
Is that true regarding the camel family?

IB:
No, it is not, but if you read again you will see that I did not write that paragraph, it is a verbatim quotation.

But if you read page 193, you will see that there I wrote explicitly:
“Camels and chevrotains, however, have a three-chambered stomach.”

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Wabbi

You wrote:
On page 133 you list the camelids - llamas, alpacas, guanacos (oh my) but neglected to cite vicunas.
Any particular reason?

IB:
No, I quoted from the source cited in footnote 378

You wrote:
Also, Rabbi David Cohen is spelled in the approbations Dovid Cohen and on page 155 he is listed as David Kohn. I think the correct spelling can be found on his fax which spell it as David Cohen.

IB:
You are right. I corrected it.
Thanks.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear Wabbi

You wrote:
If the shafan is the rabbit, that means that when G-d showed Moses the rabbit, it was a foreign animal that the populace was not familiar with. How then did they pass on the mesora to their children if their progeny or their progeny's progeny had never seen one?

IB:
Please read Chapter 5(b) and 5(c) where your assumption is questioned, but even in case your assumption would be correct the rabbit can be easily described as the small animal with long ears.

You wrote:
What proof is all the Rishonim (especially European) if they could have easily transposed the name to a similar creature, as happened with the Tzvi?

IB:
Please note that the Rishonim are brought only after the sources in the written and oral Torah and are not presented as a proof of the validity of my suggestion that the Biblical shafan is the rabbit, but to show that also with the Rishonim it is compatible.

You wrote:
On page 100 you write "Noach's Arch", I think you may have transposed some letters from Noach's name and meant "Ark".

IB:
You are right, corrected.
Thank you so much.

joshwaxman said...

"Someone has any evidence of any leading Rabbinical personality approving Natan Slifkin´s 2nd edition of the hyarx book"

You know a funny thing about bans? They tend to shut down conversation. People don't want to enter into controversy, they don't want to be labeled kofrim themselves by the obnoxious people organizing the bans.

Any big names who agree that positions taken by Rabbi Slifkin are acceptable -- they would not appreciate being dragged into it.

So I consider it quite disgusting and chutzpadik behavior on your part, that first you harness intimidation to shut down discussion, and then use the lack of discussion to further delegitimize Rabbi Slifkin's work.

Meanwhile, even though you took pains to disguise your book as an independent work, it is clearly intended and motivated as a response to The Camel, The Hare, and The Hyrax (CHH). That you refuse to explicitly reference CHH is a sign of **pettiness**, not the false religiosity you are asserting here.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman

You wrote:
…They tend to shut down conversation.

IB:
I wanted to have open conversation with Natan Slifkin on the contents of his books, but he refused 12 times.

You wrote:
Any big names who agree that positions taken by Rabbi Slifkin are acceptable -- they would not appreciate being dragged into it.

IB:
Perashat Devarim we just read:
Lo taguru mipene ish…

You wrote:
Meanwhile, even though you took pains to disguise your book as an independent work, it is clearly intended and motivated as a response to The Camel, The Hare, and The Hyrax…

IB:
I began searching the shafan issue before Natan Slifkin was bar mitzvah.

David Ohsie said...

B”H
Dear Roger
I am sorry to write the following but since you wrote a direct question I have to give a direct answer.
I did not forget that source; it was intentionally omitted since it is one of the books which has provoked disapproving letters with about 30 signatures of leading Rabbinical personalities.
I am not aware of any leading Rabbinical personality approving his 2nd edition.

BTW, before Natan Slifkin published his hyrax book I had friendly email communication with him; we were collaborating in the vast research required for a book like this.
When he told me his plans of immediately publishing it [without waiting for a comprehensive research] I reminded him that we were still finding many additional relevant sources.
On 09 Nov 2003 he decided to ignore my reminder.

Sunday, July 14, 2013 4:58:00 PM


This is all very nice, but does not absolve you from referencing sources with priority. You reference many scientific sources who are undoubtedly heretics by your lights. You are arguing that it is OK to plagiarize from people if they don't meet your standards. If you feel the need to emphasize that you don't endorse the author of one of your sources, then by all means do that.

joshwaxman said...

"I wanted to have open conversation with Natan Slifkin on the contents of his books, but he refused 12 times."

Once you act like a jerk and work to practically ruin someone's life, they no longer should be expected to have an "open conversation" with you. Or was this before you worked to ban his books?

And your "open conversation", if I recall correctly, was a protocolized debate, where such debates do not serve to arrive at truth.

My point is that you cannot seriously expect anyone to step up to be blasted as a kofer.

"Lo taguru mipene ish…"
Yes, very fine mussar vort. the pasuk says that. Practically, one does pick battles, when there are kanoim like you around. I do know great people who would agree with that Rabbi Slifkin's book is a good and valuable one. But I sure as heck will not name names -- not to the likes of you. See how the Chasam Sofer only hinted cryptically that he agreed with Rav Yaakov Emden about the Zohar. If he had been public about it, he would not have been the Chasam Sofer.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
… You are arguing that it is OK to plagiarize from people if they don't meet your standards.

IB:
I did not say it is OK.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman

You wrote:
…Or was this before you worked to ban his books?

IB:
As explained, the initial 23 and most significant signatures disqualified the book without my intervention.
The 12 times were after the book was disqualified by the “later letters”.
As explained on 09 Nov 2003 he decided to ignore my reminder.
The latter was before any disqualifying letter, when we were in a friendly conversation.

You wrote:
And your "open conversation", if I recall correctly, was a protocolized debate, where such debates do not serve to arrive at truth.

IB:
Any serious debate must be protocolized.
But even recently, when Natan Slifkin began reviewing the shafan book, despite I did not asked for a protocolized debate, he began with sarcastic comments not allowing any respectful intellectual debate.

You wrote:
… I do know great people who would agree with that Rabbi Slifkin's book is a good and valuable one.

IB:
En ladayan ela ma sheenav root.

David Ohsie said...

David

You wrote:
… You are arguing that it is OK to plagiarize from people if they don't meet your standards.

IB:
I did not say it is OK.


Then the fact that you or others don't approve of R. Slifkin's book is not relevant. You must provide the citations.

joshwaxman said...

"As explained, the initial 23 and most significant signatures disqualified the book without my intervention."

Right. Other askonim, besides you, worked before you to get the book banned.

"As explained on 09 Nov 2003 he decided to ignore my reminder"
you are a nudnik, whose 'reminder' did not have to be heeded before publication of the book.

"still finding many additional relevant sources"
meanwhile, i've compared your book and his book, and his book has more of the relevant sources, and presents a much fuller picture of the issues; you omit many of them, it seems in order to make your point stronger. and yet you published!

"he began with sarcastic comments not allowing any respectful intellectual debate."
Rabbi Slifkin's points were well made. You are a joker and a rasha, and have engaged in duplicity in your debate strategies in the past, and as such do not deserve 'respectful intellectual debate'.

Roger said...

Thanks, Isaac, for replying to my question. So you won't make any reference to Rabbi Slifkin's book in any way, because it was banned by Torah authorities that you consider to be authoritative.

Still, shouldn't you correct your claim about being interested in relevant sources? What you mean is that you are interested in relevant sources that have not been banned by Torah authorities that you consider to be authoritative. Will you change that in the next edition?

I have another question. The Gedolim who banned Rabbi Slifkin's book would kal v'chomer also condemn his writings in defense of his books. So how can you quote his comments in your blog posts and blog comments?

And one final questions. Many of the scientists that you quote have written elsewhere about their belief in evolution, which the Gedolim have declared heretical. How can you cite from them?

Thank you in advance for answering my questions.

Natan Slifkin said...

"Please note that the Rishonim are brought only after the sources in the written and oral Torah and are not presented as a proof of the validity of my suggestion that the Biblical shafan is the rabbit, but to show that also with the Rishonim it is compatible"

Isaac, is it mandatory that the shafan match the descriptions given by these Rishonim? Please answer yes or no.

Middlerax said...

IB:
No, it is not, but if you read again you will see that I did not write that paragraph, it is a verbatim quotation.


In that case, you should footnote it with the correct information. I wouldn't want incorrect information in my book.

On page 133 you list the camelids - llamas, alpacas, guanacos (oh my) but neglected to cite vicunas.
Any particular reason?

IB:
No, I quoted from the source cited in footnote 378

Again, you could cite the vicunas in a footnote for better accuracy.

B”H
Dear Wabbi

You wrote:
If the shafan is the rabbit, that means that when G-d showed Moses the rabbit, it was a foreign animal that the populace was not familiar with. How then did they pass on the mesora to their children if their progeny or their progeny's progeny had never seen one?

IB:
Please read Chapter 5(b) and 5(c) where your assumption is questioned, but even in case your assumption would be correct the rabbit can be easily described as the small animal with long ears.

You wrote:
What proof is all the Rishonim (especially European) if they could have easily transposed the name to a similar creature, as happened with the Tzvi?

IB:
Please note that the Rishonim are brought only after the sources in the written and oral Torah and are not presented as a proof of the validity of my suggestion that the Biblical shafan is the rabbit, but to show that also with the Rishonim it is compatible.

The question really is: How did Chazal know what the shafan is? When the Dor Hamidbar were shown the shafan, which you claim is the rabbit, how was the tradition passed on? Did parents tell their children that there is this funny little creature with long ears that chews the cud? One hundred years from then and two hundred years from then how would the Israelites know what is the shafan? It would be quite easy for them to see the hyrax when they entered Canaan and assume that the chewing motions of the hyrax and the lack of split hooves make it the perfect candidate. But they could very well have been mistaken, as well as the Europeans who attributed the definition to the rabbit, could also have been mistaken. We see this very clearly with regard to the Tzvi. So perhaps the shafan is some other animal altogether, and when King David and King Solomon described the shafan, it may have been a totally different animal than the shafan shown to Moses. And if the incorrect tradition was passed down to Chazal, then bringing proof from R Saadia Gaon and all the European Rishonim means nil.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
Then the fact that you or others don't approve of R. Slifkin's book is not relevant. You must provide the citations.

IB:
Sorry, please elaborate.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Rabbi Waxman:

You wrote:
"As explained on 09 Nov 2003 he decided to ignore my reminder"
you are a nudnik, whose 'reminder' did not have to be heeded before publication of the book.

IB:
Yes you are right; he was free to publish his book before all the needed research even in basic issues was not completed.
He published his book and the end of the story is known to everyone.

You wrote:
"still finding many additional relevant sources"
meanwhile, i've compared your book and his book, and his book has more of the relevant sources, and presents a much fuller picture of the issues; you omit many of them, it seems in order to make your point stronger. and yet you published!

IB:
I am happy finally you are interested in the contents of the book.
You are free to present Natan Slifkin’s arguments and to try to refute mine.

You wrote:
You are a joker and a rasha, and have engaged in duplicity in your debate strategies in the past, and as such do not deserve 'respectful intellectual debate'.

IB:
To continue participating on any future respectful, intellectual debate in this forum, please demonstrate -with a written Psak- that according to Halacha you have right to call someone a “Rasha”.
Otherwise, erase this comment and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.

David Ohsie said...

… You are arguing that it is OK to plagiarize from people if they don't meet your standards.

IB:
I did not say it is OK.


Then the fact that you or others don't approve of R. Slifkin's book is not relevant. You must provide the citations.

Sorry, please elaborate.

You justified not citing R. Slifkin because, with your help, the books were "banned" by some. But you say that is not a justification for plagiarism. If so, you should have cited his book where appropriate.

joshwaxman said...

no thank you.

you think this is a "respectful, intellectual debate"?

and no, i am not your errand boy, that i need to produce for you any psak.

i am sorry that you are a rasha, but you are. you think, of course, that you are a great tzaddik. for the same actions.

David Ohsie said...

IB:
To continue participating on any future respectful, intellectual debate in this forum, please demonstrate -with a written Psak- that according to Halacha you have right to call someone a “Rasha”.
Otherwise, erase this comment and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.


Dr. Betech: where is your P'sak to allow you to say that R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran? Otherwise, erase your shameful blog post and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.

joshwaxman said...

I am happy finally you are interested in the contents of the book.
You are free to present Natan Slifkin’s arguments and to try to refute mine.


I am not yet done with covering your dishonest methodology. There is another post coming on that score.

Eventually, maybe I will address Rabbi Slifkin's arguments, and yours. But what you were responding to said nothing of the sort, that I was saying the arguments were better. This was your dishonest reframing of my words. All I said was and his book has more of the relevant sources, and presents a much fuller picture of the issues; you omit many of them, it seems in order to make your point stronger.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

Where did I plagiarize Natan Slifkin’s book?

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David:

Where did I plagiarize Natan Slifkin’s book?


I did not make such an accusation. You said that you did not cite R. Slifkin's book because of the ban that you helped to engineer. Using without citing is a form of plagiarism.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

Where I wrote that Natan Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
Using without citing is a form of plagiarism.

IB:
Please elaborate.

Roger said...

Thanks, Isaac, for replying to my question. So you won't make any reference to Rabbi Slifkin's book in any way, because it was banned by Torah authorities that you consider to be authoritative.

Still, shouldn't you correct your claim about being interested in relevant sources? What you mean is that you are interested in relevant sources that have not been banned by Torah authorities that you consider to be authoritative. Will you change that in the next edition?

I have another question. The Gedolim who banned Rabbi Slifkin's book would kal v'chomer also condemn his writings in defense of his books. So how can you quote his comments in your blog posts and blog comments?

And one final questions. Many of the scientists that you quote have written elsewhere about their belief in evolution, which the Gedolim have declared heretical. How can you cite from them?

Thank you in advance for answering my questions.

joshwaxman said...

Dr. Betech:

To clarify, I don't know if you are **technically** a rasha. And I apologize for causing you offense, in that regard.

However, I do feel quite strongly that your actions in helping along the ban, as well as your continual tone and behavior towards Rabbi Slifkin through the years, as well as what I see as dishonest tactics, are negative, sinful actions. לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך ולא תישא עליו חטא. And so I will let you know this. I dislike duplicity and don't want to stand by pretending that I think that you have conducted yourself in an entirely above-board manner, and that this is all a "respectful, intellectual debate", on either side.

David Ohsie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ohsie said...

Where I wrote that Natan Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran?

You know which post that was, as I called you on it in the comments of that post and I've asked many time for you to amend your post. This is another example of what R. Waxman refers to. You are pretending that you don't know what I am referring to, when you certainly do know.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
… You know which post that was…

IB:
I just read that post again.

And I ask again:

Where I wrote that Natan Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran?

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
… You know which post that was…

IB:
I just read that post again.

And I ask again:

Where I wrote that Natan Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran?


We went back and forth extensively on the thread, so I see no need to elaborate here.

For readers the post is here. You can judge for yourselves:

http://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.co.il/2013/03/bh-lacking-in-derech-eretz-and-in.html

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
We went back and forth extensively on the thread, so I see no need to elaborate here.

IB:
Please tell me where did you elaborate on this?

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
We went back and forth extensively on the thread, so I see no need to elaborate here.

IB:
Please tell me where did you elaborate on this?


The comment thread is the thread below the post. We had an extensive discussion there. But no elaboration from me was needed.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
… We had an extensive discussion there. But no elaboration from me was needed.

IB:
An elaboration is needed to substantiate your accusation against me.

I have not said –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran”

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
… We had an extensive discussion there. But no elaboration from me was needed.

IB:
An elaboration is needed to substantiate your accusation against me.

I have not said –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran”


The post is self-explanatory. You are free to disagree with me, but perhaps you should ask some objective observers (not one of your co-bloggers).

Natan Slifkin said...

Isaac, I'm a little confused regarding your standards. You claim that "even the proponents of identifying the hyrax as the shafan acknowledge that there is no evidence that the hyrax practices rumination, caecotrophy, or even merycism." Now, I am one of the proponents of identifying the hyrax as the shafan, and I certainly think that there is some evidence for merycism - albeit inconclusive. I have a video which strongly suggests it!

It appears therefore that what you wrote was inaccurate, and what you meant to write was that there is nothing in the published scientific literature.

But there IS material in the "published scientific literature" - the paper by Hendrichs! True, Hendrichs is disputed by others - but that does not mean that his paper does not exist! Furthermore, even Hoeck, who disputed Hendrich's conclusion regarding rumination, said that he couldn't rule out merycism!

At the same time, the "published scientific literature" states clearly that rabbits were never native to Israel - yet you challenge this in your book.

So what is your standard? Obviously you don't exclusively go by whatever is in "the published scientific literature." It seems that your standard is that you make up your standard as you go along, and constantly change it, in order to suit your purposes at any given moment. In other words, you are, once again, dishonest.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
You wrote:
The post is self-explanatory. You are free to disagree with me,…

IB:
Yes, I am sorry but I disagree with you.
Even if you consider it as self-explanatory, please substantiate your accusation against me or please retract it.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Natan
Before writing an answer to the questions you published here, I would like to know if you are interested in a serious, intellectual interchange on the shafan’s identity.

If your answer is positive, please, as previously requested elsewhere:
1. Erase your sarcastic posts and comments published on this issue in your rationalist blogspot.
2. Erase the very sarcastic comments -written by your bloggers- you have allowed to be published on this issue in your “moderated” rationalist blogspot.
3. Answer the questions I presented to you on this issue when you commented in the Slifkin-opinions blogspot.

David Ohsie said...

Dr. Betech,

Before R. Slifkin engages you, I believe that you should demonstrate your seriousness by doing the following:

1. Erase your shameful post entitled Lacking in derech eretz and in knowledge which consists of direct personal attacks on R. Slifkin's level of religious observance and belief as well as his honesty, not mere "sarcasm". Anyone can make a bad post, but leaving that post there after it has been called to your attention reflects very badly on you character.

2. Address R. Slifkin in all future communication using his title of "Rabbi" or "Rav". He has S'micha and it has not be revoked or even disputed by anyone.

3. Answer simple factual questions about the identity of the authorities supporting your Arabic translations and what they told you. Your evasiveness brings into question your seriousness.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
After the fast of 9 av I posted two comments.

The first one was directed to you.
I will appreciate very much if you please substantiate your accusation against me or please retract it.

David Ohsie said...


David
You wrote:
The post is self-explanatory. You are free to disagree with me,…

IB:
Yes, I am sorry but I disagree with you.
Even if you consider it as self-explanatory, please substantiate your accusation against me or please retract it.


I posted the link to the post substantiating my complaint many times already including in my last response. If you disagree with the evidence, feel free to post your defense. I'm not going to cut/paste your post here, as it would propagate the shameful things that you posted even further and there is not point anyhow, since the link that I posted works fine.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote in your last comment:
If you disagree with the evidence, feel free to post your defense…

IB:
I have not published –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran.”

A defense is required when the accusation has been substantiated.
In the article you are linking there is no substantiation to support your accusation.

You previously wrote on this comment thread:

… this is a time for T'shuvah. You can start by admitting that you…


You also previously wrote on this comment thread:

“Dr. Betech: where is your P'sak to allow you to say that R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran? Otherwise, erase your shameful blog post and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.”

IB:
David Ohsie: where is your P'sak to allow you to accuse me of something I am denying and you are not ready to substantiate?
Otherwise, please retract your accusation and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.

David Ohsie said...

“Dr. Betech: where is your P'sak to allow you to say that R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran? Otherwise, erase your shameful blog post and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.”

IB:
David Ohsie: where is your P'sak to allow you to accuse me of something I am denying and you are not ready to substantiate?
Otherwise, please retract your accusation and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.


We seem to be going in circles:

IB 1: Please point out where I said this.

David: Here is the link.

IB 2: Please point out where I said this.

David: Here is the link.

IB 3: Please point out where I said this.

David: Here is the link.

IB 4: Please point out where I said this.

David: Here is the link.

IB 5: Please point out where I said this.

David: Here is the link.

Do you have any suggestions?

middlerax said...

Monday, July 15, 2013 8:55:00 AM

Doctor Betech, I await your reply to my question in the above comment.

Regards from Middle Earth.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
Do you have any suggestions?

IB:
Yes, I have.
Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.

David Ohsie said...


David:

You wrote:
Do you have any suggestions?

IB:
Yes, I have.
Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.


We just repeated the cycle again. Do you have another suggestion?

How about this? Do agree that if someone does not believe in a some part of the Torah, then he is termed an Apikores?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
We just repeated the cycle again. Do you have another suggestion?
How about this? Do agree that if someone does not believe in a some part of the Torah, then he is termed an Apikores?

IB:
David our subject is not who is an apikores.
Our subject is that you have accused me of something I deny and you have refused hitherto to substantiate your accusation.
You are repeating the cycle since you again have not substantiated your accusation and no further suggestion is required.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
We just repeated the cycle again. Do you have another suggestion?
How about this? Do agree that if someone does not believe in a some part of the Torah, then he is termed an Apikores?

IB:
David our subject is not who is an apikores.
Our subject is that you have accused me of something I deny and you have refused hitherto to substantiate your accusation.
You are repeating the cycle since you again have not substantiated your accusation and no further suggestion is required.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.


You are repeating again. I'm trying to break the cycle.

Do agree that if someone does not believe in a some part of the Torah, then he is termed an Apikores?

Since you won't answer, I'll assume that the answer is "yes". So that makes one part pretty obvious.

Before we go on, do you agree that we have 1 out of 3 done?

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
Since you won't answer, I'll assume that the answer is "yes". So that makes one part pretty obvious.

IB:
You can’t assume my answer since explicitly I wrote that this is not our subject and that is the reason I am not elaborating on that.

You wrote:
Before we go on, do you agree that we have 1 out of 3 done?

IB:
No, I do not agree.
By the way, since you are trying in this comment thread to obtain from me what I have not written in the above linked article, it is a strong suggestion that you have not found a way to substantiate your accusation against me.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published in the above linked article that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.

David Ohsie said...

You wrote:
Since you won't answer, I'll assume that the answer is "yes". So that makes one part pretty obvious.

IB:
You can’t assume my answer since explicitly I wrote that this is not our subject and that is the reason I am not elaborating on that.


So what is your answer? If you prefer I can amend my statement to say that you called him a Cofer instead of an Apikores. You could make an argument based on this Rambam that this word would be more appropriate. Please let me know.

ח. שלשה הן הנקראים אפיקורסין:

האומר שאין שם נבואה כלל ואין שם מדע שמגיע מהבורא ללב בני האדם והמכחיש נבואתו של משה רבינו והאומר שאין הבורא יודע מעשה בני האדם כל אחד משלשה אלו הן אפיקורוסים שלשה הן הכופרים בתורה:

האומר שאין התורה מעם ה' אפילו פסוק אחד אפילו תיבה אחת אם אמר משה אמרו מפי עצמו הרי זה כופר בתורה וכן הכופר בפרושה והוא תורה שבעל פה והמכחיש מגידיה כגון צדוק ובייתוס והאומר שהבורא החליף מצוה זו במצוה אחרת וכבר בטלה תורה זו אע"פ שהיא היתה מעם ה' כגון ההגרים כל אחד משלשה אלו כופר בתורה:

You wrote:
Before we go on, do you agree that we have 1 out of 3 done?

IB:
No, I do not agree.


Is that because you don't agree on the definition of Apikores? I don't want to quibble on exact word, since that word doesn't have an exact definition. What do you think that someone does not believe in a some part of the Torah is called? Cofer is another possibility.

By the way, since you are trying in this comment thread to obtain from me what I have not written in the above linked article, it is a strong suggestion that you have not found a way to substantiate your accusation against me.

I've already substantiated it, but now you are trying to back down, but without amending your post.

Anyhow, let me know if Cofer or Apikores is more appropriate.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
I am not backing down on anything.

Although your pilpulim on the differences between apikores and cofer may provide someone else food to thought, nevertheless it does not help you in this moment.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published in the above linked article that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David
I am not backing down on anything.

Although your pilpulim on the differences between apikores and cofer may provide someone else food to thought, nevertheless it does not help you in this moment.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published in the above linked article that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.


You are repeating yourself again. I'm afraid there is no way to break this impasse. You have your own definitions for words and you refuse to reveal your definitions, so there can be no common ground. If you have something new, we can continue; if not, this is my last response on this topic.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

I have not published –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran.”

In the article you are linking there is no substantiation to support your accusation.

You previously wrote on this comment thread:

… this is a time for T'shuvah. You can start by admitting that you…


You also previously wrote on this comment thread:

“Dr. Betech: where is your P'sak to allow you to say that R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran? Otherwise, erase your shameful blog post and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.”

IB:
David Ohsie: where is your P'sak to allow you to accuse me of something I am denying and you are not ready to substantiate?
Otherwise, please retract your accusation and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.

David Ohsie said...

B”H
David

I have not published –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran.”


In the article you are linking there is no substantiation to support your accusation.

You previously wrote on this comment thread:

… this is a time for T'shuvah. You can start by admitting that you…


You also previously wrote on this comment thread:

“Dr. Betech: where is your P'sak to allow you to say that R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran? Otherwise, erase your shameful blog post and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.”

IB:
David Ohsie: where is your P'sak to allow you to accuse me of something I am denying and you are not ready to substantiate?
Otherwise, please retract your accusation and consult your Posek on the steps you have to follow.


This space intentionally left blank.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:
You wrote:
This space intentionally left blank.

IB:
This blank space means that you are retracting from your unsubstantiated accusation?

juda said...

"for example: let us say I wrote a book in which I mentioned that Jews and gentiles had the same number of teeth. you then wrote up a whole proof that in fact, there is no scientific basis for that claim, and so, in going against kabbalists, I am a kofer. "
josh has any one substantiated the fact that Dr issac is actually the source through which r zilberstien heard about this dentist in America?

David Ohsie said...


David:
You wrote:
This space intentionally left blank.

IB:
This blank space means that you are retracting from your unsubstantiated accusation?


No, it means the opposite. My non-response should not be interpreted as a retraction.

Since you have no response to my explanation, should I interpret that to mean that you admit your error?

Here was the explanation in case you lost it:

S1: X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah
S2: If X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah, then X is an Apikores
S3: X is an Apikores

Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin, you are asserting that he is an Apikores. It is as sure as a mathematical theorem.

This is just repetition of the above. You haven't actually denied any of it (it would be silly to try), but you have simply asked me to retract. In fact, I have nothing to retract, as I didn't accuse you of anything. I merely related what you wrote in your name on your blog. No accusation is proffered or necessary.

I already wrote more than I wanted to here, as I don't want to spread your shameful accusations further. If you want to continue, please do so on the post that you are defending and open up the comments section on that post which you had previously closed.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
Although your pilpulim on the differences between apikores and cofer may provide someone else food to thought, nevertheless it does not help you in this moment.

You wrote:
Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin…

IB:
I did not.

You wrote:
In fact, I have nothing to retract, as I didn't accuse you of anything…

IB:
You did.
Following is what you wrote in this comment thread:

“Dr. Betech: where is your P'sak to allow you to say that R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran?”

You wrote:
I already wrote more than I wanted to here…

IB:
That is not a substantiation of your accusation against me.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published in the above linked article that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.

David Ohsie said...

You wrote:
Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin…

IB:
I did not.


Here is S1: X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah

It is posted on your blog with your name in the location that I gave a link to.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

You wrote:
Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin…

IB:
I did not write S1.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published in the above linked article that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.

David Ohsie said...


You wrote:
Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin…

IB:
I did not write S1.

Please substantiate your accusation against me by pointing out the statements I published in the above linked article that according to you demonstrate your accusation against me, otherwise please retract it.


I'm not going to further spread your shameful statements here. If you want more detail, open up the comments that post. I know that you know what I'm talking about, but to help out other readers, they can search for the first sentence with the word "believe" in that shameful post.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
If you want more detail, open up the comments that post.

IB:
No need to do that since comments on that post are open.
I just now verified it.
Nevertheless that does not help you.
You have accused me here, so you have to substantiate it here or retract it here.

David Ohsie said...

You wrote:
If you want more detail, open up the comments that post.

IB:
No need to do that since comments on that post are open.


Last time I tried to comment on that post, my comment was not accepted. If it is open and you still can't figure out which sentences, then we can discuss it there.


I just now verified it.
Nevertheless that does not help you.
You have accused me here, so you have to substantiate it here or retract it here


I already substantiated my statement. If you can, in any forum, show it is mistaken (it isn't) then I'll retract in all locations that I've mentioned it. I'm not going to quote your shameful statements here and thereby propagate them.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
I'm not going to quote your shameful statements here and thereby propagate them.


IB:
I understand your unwillingness to propagate some shameful statements, nevertheless that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of substantiating the accusation you wrote against me.

You decided to accuse me publicly here, now you have to substantiate your accusation here or retract it here.

David Ohsie said...

IB:
I understand your unwillingness to propagate some shameful statements, nevertheless that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of substantiating the accusation you wrote against me.

You decided to accuse me publicly here, now you have to substantiate your accusation here or retract it here.


You are repeating yourself. I've substantiated my statements (which are not accusations). You have the precise sentence referred to which I won't repeat in this forum. I'm not going to quote your language in this forum. Ask in the other one.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
I've substantiated my statements (which are not accusations).

IB:
This is indeed a partial retraction, but not enough yet.

You wrote:
…I'm not going to quote your language in this forum. Ask in the other one.

IB:
You decided to accuse me publicly here, now you have to substantiate your accusation here or retract it here.

joshwaxman said...

juda:

no, and i had never heard that. i was only presenting a hypothetical, with Dr. Betech assuming the same role as elsewhere.

kol tuv,
josh

David Ohsie said...

Sorry, the circles are getting tiring. Here is the final summary:

1) I recalled to you here that you called R. Slifkin an Apikores (apostate), Avaryan (sinner) and Shakran (liar) on your blog. This is not an accusation, but simply a report of what you wrote quite openly. I have no other knowledge. I do not "retract" what I recalled to you.

2) I won't quote your words here and propagate your shameful statements. If you want quotations, it will only be on your blog. However quotations are not needed because I produced a precise reference to your blog.

3) The first sentence in your blog post with the word "believe" is of the form S1, S2 is a correct definition, and S3 follows from S1 and S2.

S1: X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah
S2: If X doesn't believe in some part of the Torah, then X is an Apikores (apostate)
S3: X is an Apikores (apostate)

Since you wrote S1 about R. Slifkin, you are asserting that he is an Apikores (apostate).

Here is a google search to help you find what you wrote in case you have forgotten:

http://bit.ly/1avSvFj

4) Once again, you write gobs of words with no actual argument inside. I won't respond to those any more.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
I understand you are tire, nevertheless that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of substantiating the accusation you wrote against me or retracting it.

I have to acknowledge that your http://bit.ly/1avSvFj is very creative; nevertheless it does no prove your case.

I have not written –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran”

Since you wrote “…I won't respond to those any more.”
Please verify what is expected from you according to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 606:1

David Ohsie said...

I understand you are tire, nevertheless that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of substantiating the accusation you wrote against me or retracting it.

I made the statement (not accusation) and backed it up, although no backing was actually necessary, because the statement that you made speaks for itself. I'm not even sure why the statement bothers you since your post is completely public. Why not simply embrace it unless you have changed your mind.

If you can show even a reasonable doubt that I made a mistake, then I will retract from this forum and all other forums. So far you have said nothing further of substance.

Here is something simple that you can do to prove me wrong in one sentence. Make the following statement in your own name.

"I hereby declare my belief that Rabbi Natan Slifkin is not an apostate of any sort and is a firm believer in the Torah; that he follows Halacha in his actions; and that he has not been dishonest in his arguments with me, in his books or in his blog postings".

Since you wrote “…I won't respond to those any more.”
Please verify what is expected from you according to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 606:1


OK, here goes:

Dr. Betech, in accordance with SA OC 606:1, I would suggest that you remove/edit your post, ask R. Slifkin for M'chilah and address him from now on as Rabbi/Rav Slifkin. It would also help if you asked forgiveness for your role in having his books "banned".

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
You are free to initiate as many new issues as you want, but that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of substantiating the accusation you wrote against me or retracting it.

You wrote:
… I'm not even sure why the statement bothers you since your post is completely public.

IB:
What bothers me is that your accusation is not true.

I have not written –as you claim– that: “R. Slifkin is an Apikores, Avaryan and Shakran”

You wrote:
If you can show even a reasonable doubt that I made a mistake, then I will retract from this forum and all other forums. So far you have said nothing further of substance.

IB:
I do not have to substantiate nothing since I did not state anything.
You published an accusation against me, attributing me what I have not written.

You have to prove that I wrote in the above linked article the three things you are attributing to me or retract from them.

joshwaxman said...

take it as a compliment or not, but people have a very difficult time proving things to you. this might be because you are always right; or it might be because you engage in debating tactics; or because it is proving things TO YOU.

meanwhile, the feeling that those who have had the dubious privilege of arguing with with you is NOT that they have been proven wrong.

when someone then says “…I won't respond to those any more”, it is not an admission of being incorrect. as you well know. which makes your call for teshuva in response part of your rhetorical bag of tricks.

David Ohsie said...

Thank you, R. Waxman, and apologies for filling up your blog comment section with this drivel.

Dr. Betech, I've made an obviously true statement and then backed it up. You assert the contrary, but do not back up your statement, so there is nothing to respond to. I agree 100% that is my obligation to respond to any actual arguments that you make. You just haven't made any yet.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David
I do not have to back up my statement since I did not state anything.
You published an accusation against me, attributing me what I have not written.
You have to prove that I wrote in the above linked article the three things you are attributing to me or retract from them.

David Ohsie said...

You have to prove that I wrote in the above linked article the three things you are attributing to me or retract from them.

Asked and answered.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David

You wrote:
Asked and answered.

IB:
If that would be the case, then just summarize and write:

1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence: …
2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence: …
3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence: …

David Ohsie said...

You wrote:
Asked and answered.

IB:
If that would be the case, then just summarize and write:

1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence: …
2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence: …
3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence: …


While I don't think that it is necessary given the obvious correlation, I did what you asked for one of the three, but you keep insisting that I didn't. Therefore, so I don't see the profit in pursuing the other two any further as the correlation is obvious. Also, as I mentioned many times, I will only do it by reference on this blog.

If you want direct quotes, we need to move the discussion back to your blog.

BTW, if you really don't think those things about R. Slifkin and you think that I'm misreading your blog (always possible despite the clear language), why not just state something like the following in your name. It is not your obligation to do so, but it would clear up your position rather quickly:

"I hereby declare my belief that Rabbi Natan Slifkin is not an apostate of any sort and is a firm believer in the Torah; that he follows Halacha in his actions; and that he has not been dishonest in his arguments with me, in his books or in his blog postings".

joshwaxman said...

note btw that part of it the esteemed pediatrician misunderstanding what Rabbi Slifkin wrote. that is, R'NS wrote about parshat Noach that "Sorry to shock you, but I don't believe in a global flood, either!" and Dr. Betech ignored the word "global" and seized on this to write "as everyone knows, you have publicly acknowledged that you do not believe in a basic Chapter of the written Torah".

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
David:

All the unrelated points you have mentioned in your last comment will be ignored.

Thank you for your detailed answer, where you finally at least acknowledge that you have not substantiated two of your three accusations.

Indeed, you have not even one.

I am sorry, but as you accused me here you have to demonstrate your accusation here or retract it here.

So just please answer the following:

1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”

David Ohsie said...

David:

All the unrelated points you have mentioned in your last comment will be ignored.

Thank you for your detailed answer, where you finally at least acknowledge that you have not substantiated two of your three accusations.

Indeed, you have not even one.

I am sorry, but as you accused me here you have to demonstrate your accusation here or retract it here.

So just please answer the following:

1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”


You just repeated yourself and completely ignored what I wrote, so just read my previous comment for my response.

Yoni said...

Dr. Betech how can you say this when you helped engineer the ban on R Slifkin's books? Doesn't that "minor incident" sort of assume you consider him an apikores?

SPACE said...

apikores means apricot?

David Ohsie said...

Dr. Betech put the following comment on his blog:

To our dear readers
Alechem HaShalom!

I am forced to inform you that I am not planning to answer the comments of David Ohsie, since unfortunately he has accused me elsewhere of something I am denying.

He has refrained from substantiating his accusation or retracting it even when repeatedly requested.

I am still interested in an intellectual interchange about the contents of the shafan book when the circumstances promote communication with those who are willing to take full responsibility for what they write.

Shabbat Shalom.


I responded there with the exact quotations from his blog (I don't want to reproduce them here and spread those shameful comments farther than his blog.) He first responded "David Ohsie´s quotations are out of context."

However, then then again refused to deny that they meant what they obviously mean.

Finally, my comment and his response was deleted from his blog, leaving only his comment reproduced above.

David Ohsie said...

So just please answer the following:

1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”


For the record, in blog post Lacking in derech eretz and in knowledge

1. IB wrote that NS is an Apikores in the following sentences (in the above mentioned link):

http://bit.ly/18WYea7
http://bit.ly/18WYzty

2. IB wrote that NS is an Avaryan in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link):

http://bit.ly/18WYE0b

3. IB wrote that NS is an Shakran in the following sentences (in the above mentioned link):

http://bit.ly/18WYKVF
http://bit.ly/18WYWEm

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B”H
Dear David
Thank you for your very late response.

It is obvious why you were unwilling to try to substantiate your three accusations against me.

I followed your five links and could not find where I wrote what you attributed to me, so please substantiate your accusations or retract them.

David Ohsie said...

Thank you for your very late response.

I responded a long time ago. I merely added unecessary additional specficity here to help avoid you confusing the readers.

It is obvious why you were unwilling to try to substantiate your three accusations against me.

It is obvious why you don't actually respond: you actually did say those things and most likely still believe them. Instead you make general comments like "I don't know what you are talking about".

And again, I made not one single accusation against anyone. I pointed out what you wrote.

I followed your five links and could not find where I wrote what you attributed to me, so please substantiate your accusations or retract them.

I can't help if you can't read and understand your own writing.

Dr. Isaac Betech said...

B"H
David

You wrote:
...I can't help if you can't read and understand your own writing.

IB:
So just please answer the following:

1. IB wrote that NS is x in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
2. IB wrote that NS is y in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”
3. IB wrote that NS is z in the following sentence (in the above mentioned link): “…”

Then everyone will understand why you have refused so many times to substantiate your non-demonstrated accussation.

David Ohsie said...

Then everyone will understand why you have refused so many times to substantiate your non-demonstrated accussation.

I think that everyone understands why you repeat questions that have been directly answered many times.

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